8- Mile Stretch of Rogue River Reopens to Rafters

For the first time in 8 days, white water rafting companies are taking people down the most popular stretch of the Rogue River. NewsWatch12's Sionan Barrett found out how the week-long closure impacted a Merlin company.

Posted: Aug. 8, 2018 10:41 PM
Updated: Aug. 8, 2018 11:09 PM

MERLIN, Ore.- Orange Torpedo Trips helps dozens of people raft down the Rogue River every day. But when the Taylor Creek Fire shut down about 8 miles of the River, this business had to get creative.

The river closure caused a major hit on local businesses and made it difficult for rafters to make day trips. The road was blocked near Hellgate Bridge and the river closed from Hog creek to Galice.

Cory Mahr, the operations manager at Orange Torpedo Trips says, "It's really big for us as far is the logistics of getting down because every car that was being shuttled with Galice being down would have to go around through Sunny Valley and over."

What would have been a short drive became a little more complicated. 

NewsWatch12 talked with Seana Doherty, a tourist from Lake Tahoe, California.
She traveled to Merlin to raft and camp on the Rogue River and says, "We did have to change our shuttle route which took an extra hour."

Once rafters got down to the water, the river became a much needed escape from the smoke.

Doherty says, "We were on the river for about four days and three nights and for the most part it was pretty clear."

The company says firefighters had the Merlin community's back, helping to reopen the river as soon as the danger subsided.

Mahr says, "This is kind of becoming the new normal which were hopeful it's not going to be an every year thing. But we're just thankful the crews were so open to communication and keeping us in the loop and realizing that this is a major portion of what we do and they made it a priority for us."

Nearly all the boat ramps are re-opened.

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